2019 Alex Awards

2019 Winners

View the 2019 Official Nominations

The Black God's DrumsThe Book of EssieCirceEducatedGirl Who Smiled Beads

GreenHome After DarkHow Long Til Black Future MonthLawn BoySpinning Silver

The Black God’s Drums, By P. Djèlí Clark, Published by Tor.com, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, a division of Macmillan. Creeper has her sights on leaving the streets of New Orleans and starting a new adventure on an airship. But first she will need to partner with the reluctant Captain Ann-Marie to save a kidnapped Haitian scientist and stop the use of a dangerous weapon. Wildly original with spy nuns and sky pirates, this steampunk alternate history is a winning adventure.

The Book of Essie, By Meghan MacLean Weir, Published by Knopf, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin RandomHouse. Essie, the youngest family member of Evangelical television reality stars, is pregnant and refuses to name the father. The showrunners--and her parents--decide the best solution is for Essie to marry quickly with lots of hype to increase ratings. Celebrity, scandal, and reality TV make for a wicked, compulsively readable combination.

Circe, By Madeline Miller, Published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group. Spurned by her fellow gods for her lack of beauty and power, minor goddess Circe seeks out mortals instead and finds in herself a new ability: witchcraft, and the power to transform men into monsters. Coming of age over the span of a thousand years, Circe--and the reader--must find safe harbor in this ongoing epic of gods and men.

Educated: A Memoir, By Tara Westover, Published by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House. Raised in an extremist family and barely homeschooled, Tara Westover decides that education is more important than family. Breaking ties, forging new relationships, and unlearning much of what she’s grown up "knowing" prove to be nearly insurmountable. This stirring memoir shows that ignorance is not bliss, and that knowledge is power.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After, By Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil, Published by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House. In 1994, six-year-old Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister flee the Rwandan Genocide and spend the next six years surviving refugee camps before arriving in America. This is Clemantine’s story--that of a survivor, a refugee, and an immigrant who defies stereotype time and time again.

Green, By Sam Graham-Felsen, published by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House. In 1992 Boston, David Greenfield hates being one of the few white kids in his middle school where even his former best friend bullies him. He connects with a boy from the projects, but competition cause a rift in their blossoming friendship. A timely historical fiction, “Green” explores race, class, minority status, and the daily injustices of middle school life.

Home After Dark, by David Small, illustrated by the author, published by Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company. After his mother abandons them, his father uproots thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt to a rundown town in 1950s California. Russell tries to fit in while navigating a landscape of homophobic bullies and a serial animal killer. David Small’s storytelling and lush illustrations capture all the uncertainties of adolescence in this coming of age story.

How Long ’Til Black Future Month? By N. K. Jemisin, Published by Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. Author N.K. Jemison is a master worldbuilder, and this collection of short stories is a weird, wild, and original reimagining of both the past and the future, celebrating resistance and action and speaking truth to power.

Lawn Boy, By Jonathan Evison, Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing. Twenty-something Mike Muñoz is passionate about the art of landscaping--a fresh cut lawn and a creative topiary. Caught between taking care of his mother and brother and trying to strike out on his own, Mike is not-so-patiently waiting for a lucky break. His struggle is familiar and heartbreaking, and it’s impossible not to root for him as he chases the elusive American Dream.

Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik, published by Del Rey, a division of Penguin Random House. Miryem has earned a reputation for turning silver into gold, but soon her talent gains unwanted attention from a cold, cruel fae king. Now Miryem finds herself trapped in a bargain that will change her life and the lives of those around her in this magical, multilayered fairy tale.

2019 Committee Members

Members of the 2019 Alex Awards Committee are: Chair Kali Olson, The Blake School, Minneapolis; Amy Fowler, Nevins Memorial Library, Methuen, Mass.: Dr. Janet W. Hilbun, Department of Information Science, University of North Texas, Garland, Texas; Johanna Lewis, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Ellen McTyre, Mamaroneck Public Library District, Mamaroneck, N.Y.; Becky Reiser, Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, Calif.; Elizabeth Page, Coronado (Calif.) Public Library; Ellen Wickham, Raytown (Mo.) South High School; and Booklist Consultant Maggie Reagan, Chicago.

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